Airport expected to be commissioned by May 2016
The earth work for developing the runway for the Kannur International Airport is progressing at a hectic pace even as the embankment works have been suspended since the onset of monsoon.
According to officials of Kannur International Airport Limited (KIAL), the earth work, which started in March, has covered an area of 175 hectares out of the total 512 hectares.
The work by Larsen and Toubro (L&T), which has been awarded the Rs.694-crore engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) contract for developing the runway, is progressing as per schedule. Embankment works for ground-levelling would resume after the end of the monsoon, they said.
The project envisages the commissioning of the runway by May 2016.
‘‘It is a huge earth work, including cutting and filling, involving 234 lakh cubic metres (cum) of earth and nearly 10 per cent of the earth work is over by now,’’ KIAL Managing Director G. Chandramouli said.
He told The Hindu that construction of no other airport involved such a massive scale of earth work. Though the progress of the work was sluggish in March and April, it gathered momentum since then, he said.
The maximum single day earth work progress achieved so far is 70,000 cum. ‘‘What we have planned up to May has been achieved,’’ said P.J. Xavier, Resident Engineer of AECOM, consultancy company of the airport project. L&T would mobilise more resources for accelerating the earth work, he said.
KIAL Chief Project Engineer K.P. Jose said the work planned during monsoon included blasting of hard strata for airside works, laterite cutting, construction of compound wall, and operation of the crusher.
KIAL had already deposited Rs.9.6 crore with the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) for laying the 9-km-long pipeline for meeting the water requirement (10 lakh litres per day) of the airport and Rs.15.94 crore with the Kerala State Electricity Board for constructing a dedicated 33 kV substation, he said.
The financial bid for the construction of the 80,000 sq.m. airport terminal building will be opened on June 21. The work will commence on July 5 and will be completed in 22 months. The site is ready for construction works, KIAL officials said. Acquisition of additional 100 acres had to be initiated for future requirement for runway extension, they said.
‘‘This is going to be a major airport and therefore the process of acquiring additional land required for the runway extension has to begin now,’’ said C. Jayachandran, vice-president of the North Malabar Chamber of Commerce.
He said that though the original plan was to develop a 3,400-m-long runway, KIAL was now saying that in the first phase the runway length would be 3,050 m. He called for government intervention to acquire the additional land.